SAS-Serial Attached SCSI
SAS will continue to build upon the established SCSI technologies that are typically used in RAID and other
enterprise environments. The emerging interface uses the existing SCSI protocol, while featuring serial point-to-point interconnections, dual porting, increased addressability and full duplex operation. SAS is set to deliver a maximum data transfer rate of 3Gbit/s, with a roadmap to 12Gbit/s. SAS will also simplify the design process for system builders because it uses simplifi ed cable routing and shares similar physical attributes and interface transfer rates with SATA. The SAS feature set will enable the development of high performance and reliable solutions that can be deployed quickly and easily.
SATA is an interface technology that was engineered to be the Parallel ATA replacement for PCs, workstations, and other ATA applications. Additional features have been developed into SATA to enhance enterprise ATA applications. SATA currently delivers a maximum data transfer rate of 1.5Gbit/s per second, and will have future speeds of 3Gbit/s followed by 6Gbit/s. The interface has been designed to simplify device confi guration and improve interface level data integrity. Like the SAS interface, SATA disk drives use a compact cabling structure and smaller connectors, which enable enhanced air fl ow and reduce system complexity.
There are several factors to consider when selecting the right disk drive/interface for a given application. There are substantial differences between desktop and enterprise-class drives in terms of capacity, performance, reliability, scalability and cost. SATA drives are most commonly used in desktop applications because of their low cost-per-megabyte, extremely large capacities and performance features. Here, the focus is single-user applications. In some cases, SATA drives can be used in enterprise “entry-server” and other data-intensive applications.
SAS hard drives will be used in enterprise environments (e.g., server storage, high-end workstations), where multiple users are accessing a single system. These mission critical installations will require the highest levels of system performance for applications such as online transaction processing, data analysis and storage virtualization.
Compatibility between the new serial interfaces benefits system builders and end users alike. The common serial
interconnect will enable system builders to deploy systems that share common backplanes, connectors and cabling.
This greatly simplifi es the process of changing the “mix” of drives within an enclosure, enabling users to easily replace a SATA drive with a SAS drive if their needs change.
End users will have additional flexibility in buying systems that are optimally configured to address their target
application. The ability to replace a SATA drive with a SAS drive also eliminates the need to replace entire systems
when additional performance/reliability is required. These factors combine to substantially reduce the total cost of
ownership for desktop and enterprise storage.
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